Grotius, God, and Natural Law By Anthony J. Fejfar, B.A., J.D., Esq., Coif ©Copyright 2010 by Anthony J.

Fejfar With the support of the Lutheran Protestant King of Sweden, and the Catholic King of France, Hugo Grotius wrote and published the book, “Right of War and Peace” in 1625. In Chapter I, of that book, entitled, “What War and Right is,” Grotius describes Natural Law to us. Grotius states that an individual right, is “a moral quality annexed to a person which enables him to have, or do, something, justly.” Justice enforces individual rights which promote the Individual Good of each person. Natural Rights, based upon Natural Law, are those laws which are in accord with reason, and the Individual Good. Thus, theft of another person’s property is a violation of Natural Law. Moreover, even God cannot contramand or contradict the Natural Rights which are based on Natural Law. Each person has individual Liberty based upon Freewill and the Natural Law rules that enforce all Individual Natural Rights which support the reasonable attainment of the Individual Good for each person. Thus, God who is Good, and who is ordered toward the Good, cannot disregard or interfere with the reasonable, Natural Law, Natural Rights, which are Good, and which are opposed to Evil. Thus, God Himself, is bound by Natural Law, that is, God cannot act contrary to the Good, and God cannot act contrary to Reason. Thus Grotius rejects the Calvinist, Gnostic, heretical view, that God can commit evil or even be Evil. Reason is God’ primary attribute, not Power. Contrary to Calvin, God is limited by His Nature, and can only be Good, not Evil. Thus, Grotius tells us, as was later affirmed by John Locke, and the American Declaration of

Independence, that each person has Natural Rights of Liberty and Property, prior to the existence and operation of the State. Moreover, each person has an Individual Natural Right to use Force, to protect and asserts his Natural Rights of Liberty and Property. Such Natural Rights cannot be divested by the State, or even by God, or some alleged religious authority on God’s “behalf.” Thus, Natural Rights based on Natural Law, are based upon Higher Law, not upon some base, evil, interpretation of law. Finally, every person has a Natural Right to Liberty and Property, based on Natural Law, without any exception.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful